Google security report finds phishing to be biggest threat

Google reveals how hackers break into people's Gmail accounts

American multinational technology company that specializes in internet-related services Google reveals that its users are getting more prone of getting hacked through their Gmail accounts.

"From March 2016 to March 2017, we analysed several black markets to see how hijackers steal passwords and other sensitive data", said Kurt Thomas from Anti-Abuse Research and Angelika Moscicki from Account Security teams at Google.

As part of a recent case study, Google teamed up with the University of California, Berkeley, to better understand how hijackers attempt to take over email and social networking accounts.

"Our research tracked several black markets that traded third-party password breaches, as well as 25,000 blackhat tools used for phishing and keylogging", said Google.

In terms of risk to the user, phishing was the greatest threat, followed by key loggers then third-party breaches.

In 12 months, the company found that 788,000 accounts were stolen through login details keyloggers (tools that silently record users' action when pressing any button on the keyboard). In other words, Google accounts get stolen mainly due to user-side errors, rather than hacking.

The study says that 82 percent of blackhat phishing tools and 74 percent of keyloggers would try to collect IP addresses. "We recently announced the Advanced Protection program which provides extra security for users that are at elevated risk of attack", Google stated in a blog post.

Account hijacks is quickly growing into a problem.

"We prevent or undo actions we attribute to account takeover, notify the affected user, and help them change their password and re-secure their account into a healthy state".

"Visit Google's Security Checkup to make sure you have recovery information associated with your account, like a phone number, and allow Chrome to automatically generate passwords for your accounts and save them via Smart Lock", they concluded. For example, Safe Browsing, which now protects more than 3 billion devices, alerts users before they visit a unsafe site or when they click a link to a risky site within Gmail.

The latest study highlights how important it is to always keep your account in check and away from would-be perpetrators by taking advantage of the company's security programs.

It added, "What we learned from the research proved to be immediately useful".

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